tv Reliable Sources CNN May 15, 2011 11:00am-12:00pm EDT
interestingly, an earthquake did hit spain that day. go to our website for more. next week make sure to tune in r a special edition of gps. we will be coming to you from cairo from tahrir square with an update on the arab spring. four months after it all began. thanks for being part of my program this week. i will see you next week. stay tuned for "reliable sources." waiting for public office these days means suggesting your family to strut any from sarah palin's kids to the pain of elizabeth edwards. the media glare can be harsh as we saw again this week. should newt gingrich's third wife, you know the one he had the appear with, be on the front page of "the new york times"? what about mitch dan else divorcing and remarrying his wife? front page news. should nschwarzenegger necessary's split be all over
the airwaves. osama bin laden was portrayed as fearsome figure? was he a myth? meredith we have avieira leavin today show. the strange spectacle on fox news last night with mike huckabee boug out of the presidential race. i'm howard kurtz. this is "reliable sources." one day before he jumped into the presidential race newt gingrich was greeted by a front page picture of his wife. she is according to "the new york times" perhaps best remembered for the six-year affair that contributed to her husband's downfall. when he was speaker of the house, of course, pushing to impeach bill clinton over the monica lewinsky affair. but now says the paper he's counting on the third mrs. gingrich for his political
redemption. another page one story in "the times" zeroed in on mcconnell's wife. the indiana governor hasn't decided if he's going to run for president. the "los angeles times" reported this week that arnold schwarzenegger and maria shriver about their deteriorating marriage and got in a statement saying the movie star turned governor and his wife had separated. given their star power, the coverage quickly exploded. >> it was the news that broke overnight and it had a say it ain't so aspect to it. the "l.a. times" reports maria shriver, member of the kennedy family, longtime nbc family member, and her husband, former california governor arnold schwarzenegger, have split. >> put out a statement saying they weren't going to give any interviews, family and friends were not going to give interviews. >> couple had been married for 25 years before they announced on monday they were separating. everyone is now asking -- what happened here? >> schwarzenegger's spoke in public about his marriage last
night for the first time since he and wife maria shriver separated. he told a an aude glens los angeles that had hope they can reconcile. how much of this is exactly the med media's business? joining us in san francisco, deborah saunders. columnist for "the san francisco chronicle." in washington, sally quinn, co-founder of "the washington post" on face blog. michelle, washington correspondent for "newsweek" and "the daily beast." "the good wife 2012." sally quinn. she leaves, marries another guy, comes back. she marries her husband. how or why is that a front page story? >> you know, that's going to play really well one way or the other with the evangelicals. this is a whole issue i think people haven't figured out. >> should it be an issue? >> with these people it is an issue. you know, hillary clinton once said, you know, hi hoped there would be a certain zone of privacy when i got to the white house. forget it. there is no such thing as a zone of privacy.
with mitch dan else and his wife, people are going to look at them and say what a great dad he was, he was there for four years. you know, for three, four years. bringing up the kids on his own. this is great. or they will look at her and say what kind after woman would abandon her children for four years? so the family values issues is going to play. it is going to be a big deal in this election if he decides to run. >> i confess when i heard about this from a reporter two days before "the times" story i ordered up a story for "the daily beast." i thought it was fascinating. sherry daniels holds a key to whether or not her husband runs for president. but at the same time i'm uncomfortable with the attention it is getting. what's your take? >> no matter how much we like to say it doesn't matter about the family, especially you are electing a president, people are picking somebody, you know, the joke is that they are a boyfriend. you are not picking a president. you are picking a husband or boyfriend or father to run the country. people want abglimpse, you know, talking to republican consultants this week, you know,
you hear constantly that they want a glimpse into the candidate's personal life. what he is like, values. they look to the wives for that. >> today's "new york times" has a piece about all of this and says voters are hungry for details. come on. is it vote hears that are hungry or journalists looking for a juicy story? >> journalists don't make up what people read. we followed the stuff really -- >> what to put on the front page and the cover of the magazine. >> we pay very close attention to what people are interested in, what catches their attention. we know what they like to read. >> deborah, in this case of mitch daniels, there is no scandal here. split up, got back together. is this the kind of journalistic intrusiveness that drives people out of politics? >> i don't know. i wonder when the media are being played. i mean, i don't have any inside information on this. but mitch daniels candidacy if he runs for president is based on the fact he's the guy who can win. he's the heavyweight. ron pauls, santorums, haley
barbours can't win. he can't say hey, i'm not sure. he looks like hamlet. what is the -- what are the daniels people say? they say we are waiting to hear what sherry wants to do. that puts a lot of attention on her. now, we know that there is a story about how she left him and married somebody else for a couple of years. i think this -- humanizes her and makes her look less political. so i don't know that this is a strategy but i should hope it is a strategy because it is a really good one. i think that we in the media in a way are being led by a leash. >> hasn't occurred to me this may be a grand play by the daniels' forces. i mentioned at the top calista gingrich is often at his side. he talks about her a lot. she helped him convert to catholicism. does all of that add up to a front page story the day before he announces? >> of course. because, again, you know, these
guys are running for president they have a base. the base is a religious base. religious right base they have the appeal to in order to get the nomination. he converts to catholicism which is a little iffy. and from the standpoint of -- the evangelicals. then he finds god. he says, you know, i found calista. she brought me back to the fold. i converted. i found god. again, it is a whole family values issue. whether people are going to buy that and whether they buy the fact that he given the way he was about that the last two marriages, is suddenly reborn, is a whole different thing. but it is going to be an issue. >> after gingrich announces his candidacy on twitter, actually, he gave the first interview on fox. the question of his personal life came up in a very indirect way. let's roll it. >> already in the media, you
know, they are going after you, your personal life. you have been divorced. >> if you are a conservative, you have to start with the assumption that you are not going to get an even break from the elite media. and that's just reality. >> the former speaker of the house is turning this into an take on the media for bringing up parts of his life. what do you think about that? >> boo hoo. this is always the desperate refuge of somebody that has a problem. blame it the media. this is what sarah palin has taught us as well. >> media blameless? >> i'm sorry, neither is newt gingrich. we are talking about a man here who was carrying on a long-term affair in a party that apprises itself as being a family values party. we are trying to take down bill clinton at the same time. if he doesn't think that's going to be a legitimate issue going forward, he is nuts. >> let me play for you a clip from this morning's "meet the press" where david gregory did raise this question more explicit fashion. he started out by talking about
how gingrich's personal image may be hurting his poll numbers. >> some of that has to do with your own personal life. you have been married three times, extramarital affairs, one of which during the time republicans were pursuing president clinton for impeachment. the label of being hypocrite. and i wonder how you are going to deal with this. >> i have made mistakes in my life. i have had to go to god for forgiveness and seek reconciliation. i asked him to look at who i am today. look at the strong marriage calista and i have. look at close relationship i have with my two daughters and their husbands. >> i see you shaking your head. does this look like "the new york times" first and "meet the press" second and probably the rest of us by this afternoon, are trying to tarnish republicans by going after their wives? >> well, you can't help it with newt gingrich. i mean, it is like not looking at the nose. "new york times" has done newt
gingrich a favor by making this an issue now. because it makes people be less likely to look at him. i have to say -- i don't think that this -- this is a campaign. it is like a cult. and while i was talking about mitch daniels before having the -- the strategy, newt gingrich keeps making the same mistakes over and over again and trying to grandize them by putting a wrapping on and it he wants everybody to follow it. it does not work in a way. >> how has "the times" done gingrich a favor? what he is running on, criticism of president obama. he doesn't want the first big exposure of this week to be about calista. >> but in a year, it is old news. we have been through that. i mean, he can say you have been writing to this story for so long, come on, let's move on. that's the only way i'm saying it is a favor. because he's going to get the stuff out of the way. it is just -- a bizarre decision on his point to campaign with his third wife who he was dating while he was married to his
second wife at his side all the time. i think he believes people are going to look at them and think they are a wonderful couple and it just doesn't work that way. >> of course he wants it to be about calista. calista is his wife. they are together. they are a couple. they are a happily married couple. >> between him and oblivion and so he's -- and by the way, let me point out where are you seeing him on television and in the newspapers, he's using the liberal elite and secular media to get all of this attention to show how he and his wife have -- together have a great relationship and have found god. >> and by the way, i mean, again, i'm always sympathetic to family members being drag flood the spotlight. calista good very much running for first lady. sherry daniels, if mitch daniels would december tide run, calista has not given any interviews.
she will be forced by appreciate tour to address what happened when she was on the payroll and carrying on? absolutely. >> nothing like republicans like more than a victim. they can play this up, play the victim card, they will play it to the hilt. >> let me turn to that t "l.a. times" story of arnold schwarzenegger who has only been out of office for governor a few short months. maria shriver. obviously that's a local story for the local paper. but why this avalanche of national attention? >> because they are huge celebrities. arnold is a big movie star. maria -- reminds us of a kennedy. >> but a -- journalist who was on nbc and at least one other network for 25 years. >> not only that, but she had to give up her role as an nbc correspondent when she married him. this is another issue which is the role wives have to take and i say wives, good husbands don't usually get into this situation. they have to sort of step back and let their husbands be the
primary figure in the relationship. and the campaign. and i think that that was very hard for maria to have to put herself in second place and not be able to do the kinds of things she was used to doing. that's really a killer for a marriage. >> this is a big deal because it is very rare when that kind of thing happens. it is not like they did this five years in or ten years in. i mean, they have been together for a long time. people understandably were like what finally happens now? >> reminds me of the attention al and tipper gore breakup got. is there a certain amount of media pandering here? all those -- churning michelle about what really happened and was there another woman? why now? >> well, this is what happens with celebrities in particular. if you have a run of the mill politician who no one cares about -- anybody care why gray davis, you know, what his personal life is like? we are talking about a man, in particular, the governor is famous for all the rumors about
his inappropriate touching or whatever on the movie sets. she stood by him during that period of time. people want to know now what happened. >> on that point, i talked to mark of the "l.a. times" that broke that story and said it came up in political circles and went to the family and asked about and it got the statement. he says he feels the "los angeles times" had a special responsibility to report on this because it had broken the story in 2003 when arnold was running for governor about 15 women accusing the then candidate of different kinds of sexually inappropriate conduct. what's your take on how much of a story this is or should be? >> you know what surprises me about this story? "the times" reports maria left in january. in march she does this video where she's basically practically shouts out that they are separating and not wearing a wedding ring, talking about france formation. their anniversary, 25th anniversary is in april. the couple always tweet being each other, not a word.
they are seen at events coming and going separately. the story doesn't break until may. that shows what happens when someone isn't in power anymore. two years ago maria shriver was seen talking on her cell phone with her hands violating state law. it was on the web within hours. and now they break up and it takes months for this to be a story. that's what i find really interesting about this. >> was eight story because we didn't know or rumors you document something and this is what the "l.a. times" did here and you are all right on this score. this is a huge politically famous couple, celebrity, terminator and all that. the story will not fade any time soon. when we come back, mike huckabee using his fox news show to announce his decision to 2012. the suspense was almost unbearable. [ marge ] psst.
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mike huckabee who is at or near the top of the republican presidential polls has been keeping the press guess being whether he would mount a second white house campaign in 2012. i tuned in last night on fox news at 8:00 along with other political writers to find out what he was going to do. he wouldn't tell us until the entire hour had almost lapsed. finally in the last moments of the show, he said this. >> the past few weeks the external signs and signals and answers to many of the obstacles
points strongly towards running. and when i am with people encouraging me to run, it is easy to feel the strength of their partnership and commitment to help me to the finish line. but only when i was alone in quiet and reflective moments did i have not only clarity but an inexplicable inner peace, a peace that exceeds human understanding. all of the factors say go but my heart says no. >> should huckabee have used his fox news show to orchestrate this mini drama? >> well, why not? let me just say good for mike huckabee. he has a good thing going and recognizes it and is staying with it. i think -- i watched, too. i'm glad he gets to play base wi -- bass with ted nugent and everybody else. it was clear he wasn't going to run because fox kept him on air when it shoved santorum and newt gingrich out the door because
they were thinking of running for president. i think we knew this would happen. you know, he -- used the situation. got everybody to watch for an hour. >> probably got a ratings bump. i'm watching michelle connell and no only playing bass with ted nugent, interviewing mario lopez, "saved by the bell" guy about a diet guy. after this he's going to say i declare my candidacy for president? i don't think so. >> he doesn't have to worry about anything. it was clever with his clip explaining why he won't run, this is a nod to evangelicals. basically what he is saying god told me not to run on some level. and i think that he is going to continue tearing it up on the tv. >> huckabee mentioned his belief in jesus christ and didn't mention his $500 00 fox news hour. the role of fox news in the preseason, sar tore ntorum and
gingrich. >> fox is huge but so is twitter. >> fox also has employed several people who either could or in this case didn't become serious white house contenders. >> i mean -- >> isn't that uncomfortable positions important a network? >> clearly not for them. i mean -- they are making a lot of money off of these people. and -- you know, if sarah palin when she announces, whatever she is going to do, i'm sure it will be on fox. you know, i -- i wasn't at all surprised about huckabee. look at haley barbour. no fire in the belly, you know. clearly he didn't have fire. when you talk about peace, it is not just god telling you not to run. you look at the crowd that you are running against and then you look at obama and there's no peace there. >> when sarah palin makes a decision it will be like lebron james and espn special, what team he will play for. that will get a little bit of attention.
thanks very much for joining us. up next on "reliable sources," a blogger blows the whistle on a facebook farce and cnn host addresses his private meetings with president obama. that and more ahead in our "media monitor." shaping osama bin laden's media image in life and in death. journalist author steve cole on coverage of the number onetivity. and meredith vieira leaving the "today" show and ann curry moving into her spot. will the shape-up hurt the top rated network morning show? ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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time now for our media monitor weekly look at the hits and errors in the news business. this one is a really bad idea with richard daly stepping down as mayor. some think it will a fine idea he preys on the men they covered for more than two decades. they appeared in commercials for a furniture company. here is what the likes of walter jacobson and phil curtis and rob johnson of the cbs station and allison rosatti of the nbc station had to say. >> congratulations for 22 years. a long time and we have loved watching you go through. >> thank you for being authentic and bringing the back best to chicago. >> best mayor, best city in america. >> an honor covering you. >> now here is what chicago media blogger rob feeder had to say. excuse me while i throw up.
when it become okay for television news people to appear in ads outside of those for their own employees? the cbs station said the staffers were taping a farewell video to be given to the mayor and never gave them permission to be used in an ad. the furniture company apologized. when a journalist has private meetings with the president it raises questions. that's what happened this week when "the new york times" reported that president obama held such off the record session was cnn's fareed zakaria. he was asked about this on eliot spitzer's show. >> it says the president of the united states called you for wisdom and advice about issues around the world. when he calls you, what does he say hi, barack, calling for fareed. what does he do? >> mostly it has been face-to-face meetings. usually -- organized by tom donelan. >> glenn beck said -- a stunning revelation for working
journalist to admit he has private discussion on policy with a sitting u.s. president. he says his policy is not to discuss private meetings. zakaria said he never gave obama advice or counsel on policy. he is a comment eight tator and not a reporter. it gave him a sense of the president's thinking and used to have the same kinds of meet wings, for example, condi rice. i agree with fareed last point part of what he is getting at the white house is high-level spin. that's why i think that the fact of the meetings should have been disclosed. he says that's not part of the arrangement but should be otherwise people will have doubts when word leaks out. i don't want to be culturally insensitive here but brooklyn newspaper airbrushed hillary clinton and another woman out of the famous situation room photo of the president and his aides watching as the osama bin laden mission unfolded. take a look.
it is a paper for hasidic jews. in accord with our religious beliefs we do not publish photos in women which in no way relegates them to a lower status. this paper says it has to do with modesty. they are entitled to their beliefs. don't run a white house photo you have to alter history by excising the secretary of state. paper apologized to the white house and the state department. here is one i like. tech blogger blowing the whistle on one of the country's biggest pr firms. a former cnn contributor that works for the public relations outfit was trying to plant anti-google stories in the press. here is what he e-mailed. i wanted to gauge your interest in authorizing an op-ed this week for a top-tier media outlet in an important issue that i know you're following closely. google's sweeping violations of user privacy. i'm happy to help place the op-ed and assist in the
drafting. for media targets i was thinking about "the washington post," politico, the hill, roll call or the huffington post. he posted the e-mails. "usa today" also wrote about this approach after he and another person on the staff tried to pedal the anti-google material. dan lyons reported in "the daily beast," the secretive client is facebook. plain dirty fool from a rival company. good for the journalist who exposed him. it won't happen again. after the break, now we learn that it was pouring at the osama bin laden compound. so i take one a day men's 50+ advantage. it's the only complete multivitamin with ginkgo to support memory and concentration. plus it supports heart health. [ bat cracks ] that's a hit. one a day men's.
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it will come as no surprise the killing of osama bin laden dominated the news. accounting for 69% of the stories across the media and 90% on cable news. that according to the project for excellence in journalism. a testament to how huge a figure he was. "60 minutes" devoted the entire program talking to president obama about the mission and its aftermath. >> this is one man. this is somebody who cast a shadow and has been -- cast a shadow in this place. the white house for almost a decade. >> as nervous as i was about this whole process, the one thing i didn't lose sleep over
was the possibility of taking bin laden out. justice was done. >> joining us now to talk about the coverage over the years is steve call, contributed to "the new yorker," president of the new america foundation, and author of two books on the subject "ghost wars" and bin laden." this story, which was broken by reuters about there being pornography found at the compound, we don't know whether it was osama bin laden's, his personal staff is that a significant story? why would u.s. officials leak it? >> i think they are trying to shake his image after his death in order to prevent his legend from growing in any way. and, you know, fairness to them they have been on the receiving end of osama's for a long time. now that they have the possession of the material, they are selecting that which would diminish him. >> no accident. deliberate strategy. >> no doubt there is a team looking lou this material for
that which would diminish him in the aftermath of his death. >> led to a lot of bad headlines, puns in the media. x-rated and otherwise. obviously bin laden will live in infamy as the mastermind of 9/11. especially if recent years and given when we know now, the media built up bin laden into something he was no longer? >> i think he was always -- first of all, he was always a media creature. it was premised on his affect in the media, heir to tradition of terrorism that's very much driven by television and the way television amplifies. in that sense, you -- he was always -- >> on killing people. >> well, the -- terrorism analysts put it very well. referring on the palestinians that pioneered television based terrorism. they wanted a lot of people watching but not a lot of people dead because a lot of casualties undermined their political cause. the difference with osama was he want ad lot of people watching and a lot of people dead because he believed mass casualty
killing was justified under the theory that he was pursuing. >> in a way was that a successful strategy in the sense that -- i mean, play us because -- you know, even putting aside the enormity of september 11, an utter transformation in the country and and media in which terrorism, terror alerts, investigations, plots, videotape would come out, color code change and alert would take place, just changed the tenor and the nature of what we do in the news business. >> right. television, first of all, the media, are a fact of life. you can't wish them away. when 3,000 people are killed in a surprise attack the aftermath of that is going to be appropriately running story for a long time. i think that there was a persistent real threat. go back to the original question. was he a menace in the last years of his life? yes, i think he was. there were a series of significant -- in the 3,000 people but a significant series
of terrorist plots, christmas bombing on the u.s. airliner a year before last, and the attempt at times square, several other cases in europe, similar character, where if they had been successful there would have been dozens, perhaps a few hundred people killed and i think that there is evidence in a number of those cases that the conspiracy traces back to pakistan where bin laden was still in the area. al qaeda. what we don't know is exactly what his operational role was. the white house has been putting out the notion that the materials they seized, he was more hands-on than we thought. i don't know how to evaluate that absent the evidence. >> you write in this week's new yorker, it was apparent during the last several years that wherever bin laden was hiding, we had no idea, heave watching a lot of television news, reading political books, and growing a little cranky. how is that apparent? >> he put out statements about half the time -- half a dozen times a year and if you read them all the way through, they were kind of rambling commentary of the sort you might get on certain cable news networks.
with a -- a man who believes he is speaking to his followers about important issues of the day. ripping off the headlines. what was evident, if you read the text was -- >> his own show. >> he did. and -- he was reading clearly in english, he was polling the news carefully and he was following the news in a way continuous access to satellite news coverage. he was kind of talking back to events and personalities that irritated him. he was also commenting about more respect lar matters than in the past, climb at change, banking crises, mortgage scandal. >> guy sitting in a bar. access to the media. you write in "the new yorker," this struck me, looking at his legacy, many ways osama bin laden failed. i would say that's not the media consensus. >> yes. well, he was a receive lugs avo that sought thank. other revolutionaries that fashioned themselves as lenin, castro, name others, at this point in their careers had
actually changed the world. they had seized control of the state and started the movement that crossed borders and mobilized people. al qaeda failed. bin laden failed because he had no political program. he isolated himself in muslim public opinion because he had nothing to deliver. even hamas and hezbollah run hospitals, labor unions and provide social services. they may be radical and may be sort of horrifying at some of their ideas but they are a political entity. bin laden never figured out politics. he never achieved any of his goals. he died an isolated man. not just physically but politically in his own constituency. >> bin laden's son, omar, was roorded saying he and his brothers refused to become suicide bombers. hay said my father hated his enemies more than he loved his sons. what drew you to the family members and to write a book about his family? >> i was interested in where he came from and thought that the story having travel saudi arabia over the years, more modern story the standard portrait of
osama in a cave allowed us to understand. he came of age in the '70s when oil -- the oil shocks began and he was not alone in having the money to go out into the world and reinvent his identity. he did so in a radical backward looking ideological way. >> bring this back to the journalism. was it hard for to you piece it together? hard to get access to those around him? >> yes. it was very difficult subject. required a lot of travel. what was interesting about it is that the bin ladens and osama himself in many ways was a global character. he crossed a lot of boarders and settled at a lot of place. story was accessible through travel that required time and resources. i was fortunate to be able to do. >> it on your border point about -- failure in your view, i think that western journalists had a hard time understanding him because what did he want and -- wasn't like somebody takes hostages on a plane and has set of demands. understanding how cavalier he was about human life.
in war, you know, tried to kill the other side. here is a guy who specialized perhaps delighted in mass murder of mints. >> it is tr-- of innocents. >> he could be quite sophisticated and in touch with contemporary discourse and debate. on the other hand, lack the understanding of how his own ideas about death and killing resonated. even among the people he was trying to reach. i mean -- >> he killed plenty of muslim. >> more muslims than nonmuslims. ultimately his sort of willingness to have death itself be an end martyr dom and his -- reliance on a theological narrative, that ultimately this war would be settled -- one reason hard to understand is that in his mind, this was a war that would end at the end of human time. not in territorial terms. >> he was a fascinating journalistic subject. your point about him bag media figure as well.
thanks for dropping by this morning. up next on this program, ann curry taking over as meredith vieira ends her run at the "today" show. does this give the other morning programs a chance to gain some ground on matt lauer and company? down the hill? man: all right. we were actually thinking, maybe... we're going to hike up here, so we'll catch up with you guys. [ indistinct talking and laughter ]
vieira announced this week she is leaving the program with news anchor ann curry who was passed over five years ago tapped to succeed her. >> it is a difficult day for me. i'm going to try to hold myself together here. but after months of personal reflection and private conversations with my family and friends, i decided to leave "today" in june. even as i say this, i know that it is the right thing, i'm really sad because for the past -- i like to say ten years -- this has been my second home. >> i feel like the high school computer nerd who was asked to the prom by the quarterback of the football team. >> asked to the prom. could the move give the other morning shows a chance to close the gap with "today"? joining us from new york, adam buckman, founder of thehow el.com and editor for "the new york post."
meredith vieira had the tricky challenge of following katie couric. how much has she meant to that show? >> she meant a lot. replacing katie was almost seamless when they chose meredith vieira. it is very difficult to bring that about and meredith seemed to have kind of the same background, kind of sort of the same level of notoriety and sort of likability in public mind. in my mind ann curry will be just about as smooth a transition. it ought to be anyway. >> we will get to that in a moment. i bump flood al roker who was telling me he loves meredith vieira. he didn't know how without it go when she came to the -- the ensemble show. all the pieces have to fit together. one of the challenges she faced was not just to be a good journalist but to pray well with matt lawer and the gang. >> absolutely. there was a lot -- when katie couric left the "today" show there was so much speculation, will "today" survive, how would meredith vieira fit in. she came from "the view." all the pieces have to fit together.
it worked smoothly. i think they are setting themselves up for a slightly easier transition than -- entire "today" audience already knows ann curry and has been there so long. she has a presence on social media. i think that they are not introducing a strange element into the scenario. they are introducing a familiar face. she's going to be getting more air time now. face. she'll simply be getting more air time now. >> one thing you have to do on morning tv was talk about yourself and your family, so people knew mer di's husband suffered from multiple sclerosis, of course a factor in her decision. look, she is a very seasoned journalist who has reported from around the world. >> yes. >> but is she the right choice? is she somebody you would pick if she hadn't been part of that cast? >> i don't know if we'd pick her if she had not been part of the cast. the fact she has been is the great reason to pick her. she's been substituting for these anchors for years. that gives her a lot of face time. they take vacations. she's been to the "today" show
in that hour on weekends, mornings during the weekdays, for years. yes, she's a news person by trade, but she involves herself in the usual morning show bantder, and i think that it's very, very logical, it doesn't shake anything up in the least. i think that's what the number-one show has to do, make as smooth a transition as possible. plus i suppose they must have thought what would be the consequences if we didn't promote ann and she went to some other network and perhaps that would wind up hurting them in the end. >> right. i doubt she would have stayed if she'd been passed up for a second time. you've hit on the point i wanted to pursue, which it kind of came up with stephanopoulos going to gm, because she is such a good reporter, and i mean this as a compliment, she's not your typical talk morning host. >> absolutely. but i think what we see on the morning shows right now and on cable in general is we're skewing to more news coverage. the tv audience is interested in harder news, more frequently,
and so bringing -- >> i still see a lot of cooking segmentings, a lot of fashion. i see dancing and concerts. >> i'm not suggesting we're going all news on morning shows in the least. but i think, you know, with george stephanopoulos at guoom america, you are seeing morning shows make news with their political figures and news figures. bringing in ann curry, who has a history of hard-news journalism certainly skews to that and plays to her strength in that. >> if this means more minutes for news and serious subjects, i am all for it. they have three hours to fill in the case of the "today" show. is there, adam, an opportunity for the other morning shows? i mean, cbs, reports they'll shake up the early show once again just a few months after bringing in erica hill and chris wragge, i'm wondering if there's an opening for the competition. >> i think from transition figures to be so smooth it's not going to be one of those golden opportunities for one of the two
competitors to swoop in and somehow improve their ratings and somehow pass the "today" show. certainly, "good morning america" lags behind in second place by not that much on abc, but cbs is far in the cellar, getting about half the audience of either of its two competitors. so i'm not sure they have an opportunity here. >> that's been the case for about 30 years. but i have to wonder, you know, how do you build an audience if you're constantly changing, as cbs has done, the anchors, the foremen, the set, the graphics. seems like nobody gets much of a chance to set until. >> that's the eternal question at cbs. i think they need to focus on relevance as much as ratings. with relevance hopefully comes ratings. i think they're just not relevant in morning scene. you don't find when you go online that people are posting clips from their show, they're not, you know, newsy, they're not water cooler talk. and i think they need to focus on sort of playing to that as much as the concern just simply about ratings.
and, you know, when "gma" brought george stephanopoulos in, he was a big name in the news game. "60 minutes" has been breaking enormous stories for the last few months. you wonder if maybe they want to pull in a harder news person into that morning show lineup, but, i mean, at this point probably they could throw anything against the wall to see what sticks. >> even bryant gumbel, who had been so successful on nbc's "today" didn't make it on the cbs "early show." tough time slot for cbs. but your point, i think your salient point here, is about the morning shows becoming a little newsier, so maybe breaking news is the way it will follow. thanks for joining us from new york. >> thank you. still to come, some thoughts on jim lehrer. giving up the pbs anchor chair after more than three decades. ♪ hey, dad, think i could drive?
the thing about jim lehrer, unlike most people in television news, is he never made it about him. he never used the little tribs of the trade to score points or create a confrontation during an interview. lehrer is stepping down early next month as the anchor of "the news hour." he joined the pbs broadcast in 1975 and soon had his name on what became known for years at the "macneil-lehrer" report. we talked about tv news on this
program four years ago. don't you, in addition to having an hour as opposed to a 30-minute broadcast networks, also have the luxury of working at pbs, where perhaps you don't have to be as acutely sensitive to ratings pressure as your friends at cbs, abc, and nbc? >> probably true, but i would argue if somebody really wants to improve their ratings in commercial television news right now, they would get into the serious news business. that's where the need is, and that's where the growth is. >> sometimes lehrer let guests drone on without pressing them hard enough, but he was a model of journalistic fairness. more than that, he moderated 11 presidential debates, again, in self-effacing fashion. guy even found time to write more than two dozen novels. how did he do that? on friday, his old partner, robert mcneil, talked about how he brought in a rotating group of co-anchors. >> first he to